From porcelain to dark brown, "nude"  is in the eye of the beholder. 


My latest university project got me thinking about how flesh tones are conventionally named on the market. From art supplies to contemporary fashion, "nude" or "flesh tint" is commonly used to describe the pale, peachy skin colour among those of European origin. That is despite the fact that the Western world is becoming more and more ethnically diverse. With this shift in consumer demographics, perhaps it is time to reconsider the Eurocentric way of naming flesh tones.
To consider another example: ballet dancers with darker skin tones like Eric Underwood and Chyrstyn Fentroy had struggled to find ballet shoes to match their skin colours.  It really dawned on me that the limited range of nude shades is an industry-wide problem from idea generation (drawing, painting and sketching) to end use (garment manufacturing).
People of every skin tone seek items that match their skin colour from makeup to undergarments and footwear. However, when we use the word "nude", we seem to only refer to one overarching colour that is supposed to match everyone. Nude is not a single shade but encompassing a wide range of shades.
There are two fairly common solutions. First, the numbering system. In cosmetics, skin tones are often sorted by undertone (in alphabets such as N for neutral and W for warm) and shade (by numbers). The second method is to associate flesh tones with the names of commonly known objects. How about naming Eastern Asian skin with yellow undertones "lemon biscuit"? It does sound fairly amusing at first, but if the love of food is universal, then using fruits, nuts and spices to name skin tones should go down well with most customers.



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